"The Bush v. Gore legal challenge constituted the perfect political and legal storm. Thankfully, Charley Wells sheds his black robe to give readers an easy-to-read, insiderís account of the personalities, politics, and legal concerns involved in that landmark case."--Robert Watson, author of Counting Votes
"Chief Justice Wells has written a riveting inside account of the Florida Supreme Courtís actions during the disputed 2000 presidential election. A must-read for students of the Bush v. Gore fiasco."--Richard L. Hasen, author of The Voting Wars
"A must-read for jurists, political scientists, historians, and others interested in understanding how the Florida Supreme Court reached its decisions in the disputed 2000 presidential election."--Lance deHaven-Smith, author of Government in the Sunshine State
Hanging chads. Butterfly ballots. Unruly demonstrations across the country. A state capital occupied by the national press corps. For thirty-six excruciating days in late 2000, a nation held its breath while the seven justices of the Florida Supreme Court debated the outcome of the presidential election in Florida behind closed doors. The events that transpired within the justicesí chambers--their arguments, exhortations, and appeals to one another--have remained a mystery Ö until now.
Inside Bush v. Gore presents the unique, candid, and compelling perspective of the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice who stood at the center of the storm. Charley Wells, a strong dissenting voice in the courtís 4Ė3 decision that mandated a statewide manual recount, gives an unprecedented play-by-play of those tumultuous days. Not only is his legal analysis of Bush v. Gore at the state and federal levels invaluable, but he also offers an insiderís view of judicial relationships, the frustrations of ambiguous election laws, the difficulties in separating the legalities from the politics, and the unsung yet critical role played by state court professionals.
Ultimately Inside Bush v. Gore is a story about the transfer of power in a country that prides itself on the democratic process of electing its leaders and the ability of the court system to justly and fairly resolve disputes. With the advantage of hindsight and the perspective gained by reading countless commentaries and studies about the decisions of both the Florida and the United States Supreme Courts, Wells highlights how the rule of law prevailed in the midst of one of the countryís most controversial elections in recent history.
Charley Wells, retired Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, where he served from 1994 to 2009, is now an attorney with the firm of GrayRobinson in Orlando.